Crawl Across the Ocean

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Name of the Game is Right There on the Box

Before I take on the bleak prospect of considering the outlook for 2009, first a quote from perhaps the last person in the world you would want to play monopoly with,

Benjamin Powell, of the Von Mises Institute, writes, "What's Wrong with Monopoly (the game)?"

"The pervasiveness of monopolies in the game does not represent the situation in the real world. Every piece of property on the game board is essentially a monopoly; once the dice roll determines where a player lands, there is only one seller who the consumer must purchase from. The monopolies are easily obtained by purchasing land from the bank or another player. In the real world, however, consumers are rarely compelled to purchase goods from a seller—or if one seller exists it is because it has out-competed others over time. Even with one seller, consumers can always switch to substitutes or abstain from purchasing completely. That is not the case in Monopoly. Again, this is not a small matter. The game is wrong on the central point of economic decision making: who is in control of what is produced and how?"

I think any further comment on my part would be superfluous.

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